100+ Best Henry Miller Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Henry Valentine Miller was an American writer. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new type of semi-autobiographical novel that blended character study, social criticism, philosophical reflection, stream of consciousness, explicit language, surrealist free association, and mysticism. Profoundly inspirational Henry Miller quotes will encourage growth in life, make you wiser and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for clever quotes by great authors that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes by Jack London, best James Joyce quotes and greatest John Steinbeck quotes.

Famous Henry Miller Quotes

When you are convinced that all the exits are blocked, either you take to believing in miracles or you stand still like the hummingbird. The miracle is that the honey is always there, right under your nose, only you were too busy searching elsewhere to realize it. The worst is not death but being blind, blind to the fact that everything about life is in the nature of the miraculous. – Henry Miller

New York! The white prisons, the sidewalks swarming with maggots, the breadlines, the opium joints that are built like palaces, the kikes that are there, the lepers, the thugs, and above all, the ennui, the monotony of faces, streets, legs, houses, skyscrapers, meals, posters, jobs, crimes, loves. A whole city erected over a hollow pit of nothingness. Meaningless. Absolute meaningless. – Henry Miller

We should not stop to reflect, compare, analyze, possess, but flow on and through, endlessly, like music. – Henry Miller

When you travel often, you will be addicted to it forever. – Henry Miller

It is with the soul that we grasp the essence of another human being, not with the mind, nor even with the heart. – Henry Miller

Example moves the world more than doctrine. – Henry Miller

No one asks you to throw Mozart out of the window. Keep Mozart. Cherish him. Keep Moses too, and Buddha and Lao Tzu and Christ. Keep them in your heart. But make room for the others, the coming ones, the ones who are already scratching on the window-panes. – Henry Miller

Every day that we fail to live out the maximum of our potentialities we kill the Shakespeare, Dante, Homer, Christ which is in us. – Henry Miller

She rises up out of a sea of faces and embraces me, embraces me passionately— a thousand eyes, noses, fingers, legs, bottles, windows, purses, saucers all glaring at us an we in each other’s arm oblivious. I sit down beside her and she talks— a flood of talk. Wild consumptive notes of hysteria, perversion, leprosy. I hear not a word because she is beautiful, and I love her and now I am happy and willing to die. – Henry Miller

We must get going. Tomorrow, tomorrow. – Henry Miller

The full and joyful acceptance of the worst in oneself may be the only sure way of transforming it. – Henry Miller

‘Life’, said Emerson, consists in what a man is thinking all day. If that be so, then my life is nothing but a big intestine. – Henry Miller

Work on one thing at a time until finished. – Henry Miller

Any genuine philosophy leads to action and from action back again to wonder, to the enduring fact of mystery. – Henry Miller

Surely everyone realizes, at some point along the way, that he is capable of living a far better life than the one he has chosen. – Henry Miller

A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition. – Henry Miller

It is silly to go on pretending that under the skin we are brothers. The truth is more likely that under the skin we are all cannibals, assassins, traitors, liars and hypocrites. – Henry Miller

The art of living is based on rhythm – on give & take, ebb & flow, light & dark, life & death. By acceptance of all aspects of life, good & bad, right & wrong, yours & mine, the static, defensive life, which is what most people are cursed with, is converted into a dance, ‘the dance of life,’ metamorphosis. – Henry Miller

An artist is always alone – if he is an artist. No, what the artist needs is loneliness. – Henry Miller

We do not talk – we bludgeon one another with facts and theories gleaned from cursory readings of newspapers, magazines and digests. – Henry Miller

Music is the can-opener of the soul. – Henry Miller

What I really hoped for, no doubt, was to come upon one of those lives which begin nowhere, which lead us through marshes and salt flats, trickling away, seemingly without plan, purpose or goal, and suddenly emerge, gushing like geysers, and never cease gushing, even in death. – Henry Miller

To walk in money through the night crowd, protected by money, lulled by money, dulled by money, the crowd itself a money, the breath money, no least single object anywhere that is not money. Money, money everywhere and still not enough! And then no money, or a little money, or less money, or more money but money always money. and if you have money, or you don’t have money, it is the money that counts, and money makes money, but what makes money make money? – Henry Miller

Why change the world? Change worlds! – Henry Miller

Your whole past is like a long sleep which would have been forgotten had there been no memory, but remembrance is there in the blood and the blood is like an ocean in which everything is washed away but that which is new and more substantial even than life – reality. – Henry Miller

America is no place for an artist: to be an artist is to be a moral leper, an economic misfit, a social liability. A corn-fed hog enjoys a better life than a creative writer, painter or musician. To be a rabbit is better still. – Henry Miller

Who but the artist has the power to open man up, to set free the imagination? The others – priest, teacher, saint, statesman, warrior – hold us to the path of history. They keep us chained to the rock, that the vultures may eat out our hearts. It is the artist who has the courage to go against the crowd; he is the unrecognized hero of our time – and of all time. – Henry Miller

From the little reading I had done I had observed that the men who were most in life, who were molding life, who were life itself, ate little, slept little, owned little or nothing. They had no illusions about duty, or the perpetuation of their kith and kin, or the preservation of the State. They were interested in truth and in truth alone. They recognized only one kind of activity – creation. – Henry Miller

Chaos is the score upon which reality is written. – Henry Miller

Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there. – Henry Miller

A man writes to throw off the poison which he has accumulated because of his false way of life. He is trying to recapture his innocence, yet all he succeeds in doing (by writing) is to inoculate the world with a virus of his disillusionment. No man would set a word down on paper if he had the courage to live out what he believed in. – Henry Miller

Serenity is when you get above all this, when it doesn’t matter what they think, say or want, but when you do as you are, and see God and Devil as one. – Henry Miller

The enchanting, and sometimes terrifying, thing is that the world can be so many things to so many different souls. That it can be, and is, all these things at once and the same time. – Henry Miller

I had to learn to think, feel, and see in a totally new fashion, in an uneducated way, in my own way, which is the hardest thing in the world. I had to throw myself into the current, knowing that I would probably sink. The great majority of artists are throwing themselves in with life preservers around their necks, and more often than not it is the life preserver, which sinks them. Nobody can drown in the ocean of reality who voluntarily gives herself up to the experience. Whatever there be of progress in life comes not through adaptation but through daring, through obeying the blind urge. – Henry Miller

I think someday you’re going to be a great writer, he said. But he added maliciously, first you’ll have to suffer a bit. I mean really suffer, because you don’t know what the word means yet. You only think you’ve suffered. You’ve got to fall in love first. – Henry Miller

If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having. – Henry Miller

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. – Henry Miller

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. – Henry Miller

Everything hinges on how you look at things – Henry Miller

The cancer of time is eating us away – Henry Miller

It is the American vice, the democratic disease which expresses its tyranny by reducing everything unique to the level of the herd. – Henry Miller

To be silent the whole day long, see no newspaper, hear no radio, listen to no gossip, be thoroughly and completely lazy, thoroughly and completely indifferent to the fate of the world is the finest medicine a man can give himself. – Henry Miller

To live without killing is a thought which could electrify the world, if men were only capable of staying awake long enough to let the idea soak in. – Henry Miller

Those who are truly decrepit, living corpses, so to speak, are the middle-aged, middle-class men and woman who are stuck in their comfortable grooves and imagine that the status quo will least forever or else are so frightened it won’t, that they have retreated into their mental bomb shelters to wait it out. – Henry Miller

Many is the mirage I chased. Always I was overreaching myself. The oftener I touched reality, the harder I bounced back to the world of illusion, which is the name for everyday life. – Henry Miller

A year ago, six months ago, I thought that I was an artist. I no longer think about it, I am. Everything that was literature has fallen from me. There are no more books to be written, thank God. This then? This is not a book. This is libel, slander, defamation of character. This is not a book, in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty . . . what you will. – Henry Miller

One can be absolutely truthful and sincere even though admittedly the most outrageous liar. Fiction and invention are of the very fabric of life. – Henry Miller

In the beginning was the Word. Man acts it out. He is the act, not the actor. – Henry Miller

The man who looks for security, even in the mind, is like a man who would chop off his limbs in order to have artificial ones which will give him no pain or trouble. – Henry Miller

If the poet can no longer speak for society, but only for himself, then we are at the last ditch. – Henry Miller

The poet speaks adequately only when he speaks somewhat wildly… not with intellect alone, but with intellect inebriated by nectar. – Henry Miller

What holds the world together, as I have learned from bitter experience, is sexual intercourse. – Henry Miller

We create our fate everyday. – Henry Miller

Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such – Henry Miller

I see myself forever and ever as the ridiculous man, the lonely soul, the wanderer, the restless frustrated artist, the man in love with love, always in search of the absolute, always seeking the unattainable – Henry Miller

If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things. – Henry Miller

The real enemy can always be met and conquered or won over. Real antagonism is based on love, a love which has not recognized itself. – Henry Miller

Madness is tonic and invigorating. It makes the sane more sane. The only ones who are unable to profit by it are the insane. – Henry Miller

We have been educated to such a fine – or dull – point that we are incapable of enjoying something new, something different, until we are first told what it’s all about. We don’t trust our five senses; we rely on our critics and educators, all of whom are failures in the realm of creation. In short, the blind lead the blind. It’s the democratic way. – Henry Miller

The world is the mirror of myself dying. – Henry Miller

The worst sin that can be committed against the artist is to take him at his word, to see in his work a fulfillment instead of an horizon. – Henry Miller

Voyages are accomplished inwardly. – Henry Miller

I struggled in the beginning. I said I was going to write the truth, so help me God. And I thought I was. I found I couldn’t. Nobody can write the absolute truth. – Henry Miller

The prisoner is not the one who has commited a crime, but the one who clings to his crime and lives it over and over. – Henry Miller

The only difference between the Adamic man and the man of today is that the one was born to Paradise and the other has to create it. – Henry Miller

I haven’t any allegiance, any responsibilities, any hatreds, any worries, any prejudices, any passion. I’m neither for nor against. I’m a neutral. – Henry Miller

There’s nothing wrong with the world. What’s wrong is our way of looking at it. – Henry Miller

I’m a bit retarded, like most Americans. – Henry Miller

The great work must inevitably be obscure, except to the very few, to those who like the author himself are initiated into the mysteries. Communication then is secondary: it is perpetuation which is important. For this only one good reader is necessary. – Henry Miller

At Epidaurus, in the stillness, in the great peace that came over me, I heard the heart of the world beat. I know what the cure is: it is to give up, to relinquish, to surrender, so that our little hearts may beat in unison with the great heart of the world. – Henry Miller

Music is a beautiful opiate, if you don’t take it too seriously. – Henry Miller

Out yonder they may curse, revile, and torture one another, defile all the human instincts, make a shambles of creation (if it were in their power), but here, no, here, it is unthinkable, here there is abiding peace, the peace of God, and the serene security created by a handful of good neighbors living at one with the creature world. – Henry Miller

Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate, or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. – Henry Miller

Real love is never perplexed, never qualifies, never rejects, never demands. It replenishes, by grace of restoring unlimited circulation. It burns, because it knows the true meaning of sacrifice. It is life illuminated. – Henry Miller

Jump off. You are a protected individual. Do not fear. – Henry Miller

Honest criticism means nothing: what one wants is unrestrained passion, fire for fire. – Henry Miller

A man of good will with a little effort and belief in his own powers can enjoy a deep, tranquil, rich life – provided he go his own way…. To live one’s own life is still the best way of life, always was and always will be. – Henry Miller

It is almost banal to say so yet it needs to be stressed continually: all is creation, all is change, all is flux, all is metamorphosis. – Henry Miller

Do anything, but let it produce joy. Do anything, but let it yield ecstasy. – Henry Miller

If we have not found heaven within, it is a certainty we will not find it without. – Henry Miller

What I want is to open up. I want to know what’s inside me. I want everybody to open up. I’m like an imbecile with a can opener in his hand, wondering where to begin– to open up the earth. I know that underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I’m sure of it. – Henry Miller

To sing you must first open your mouth. You must have a pair of lungs, and a little knowledge of music. It is not necessary to have an accordion, or a guitar. The essential thing is to want to sing. This then is a song. I am singing. – Henry Miller

Moralities, ethics, laws, customs, beliefs, doctrines – these are of trifling import. All that matters is that the miraculous become the norm. – Henry Miller

Man, as man, has never realized himself. The greater part of him, his potential being, has always been submerged. What is history if not the endless story of his repeated failures? – Henry Miller

We must not just be in the world and above the world, but also of the world. To love it for what it is… is the only task. Avoid it and you are lost. Lose yourself in it, and you are free. – Henry Miller

Begin this moment, wherever you find yourself, and take no thought of the morrow. Look not to Russia, China, India, not to Washington, not to the adjoining county, city or state, but to your immediate surroundings. Forget Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed and all the others. Do your part to the best of your ability, regardless of the consequences. Above all, do not wait for the next man to follow suit. – Henry Miller

Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything Godlike about God it is that. He dared to imagine everything. – Henry Miller

What is an artist? He’s a man who has antennae, who knows how to hook up to the currents which are in atmosphere, in the cosmos. – Henry Miller

As long as that spark of passion is missing there is no human significance in the performance. – Henry Miller

There was another thing I heartily disbelieved in – work. Work, it seemed to me even at the threshold of life, is an activity reserved for the dullard. It is the very opposite of creation, which is play… The part of me which was given up to work, which enabled my wife and child to live in the manner which they unthinkingly demanded, this part of me which kept the wheel turning – a completely fatuous, ego-centric notion! – was the least part of me. I gave nothing to the world in fulfilling the function of breadwinner; the world exacted its tribute of me, that was all. – Henry Miller

Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself. – Henry Miller

Even if one’s whole life were a mistake, there is always time to change. – Henry Miller

History is the myth, the true myth, of man’s fall made manifest in time. – Henry Miller

The earth is not a lair, neither is it a prison. The earth is a Paradise, the only one we’ll ever know. We will realize it the moment we open our eyes. We don’t have to make it a Paradise-it is one. We have only to make ourselves fit to inhabit it. The man with the gun, the man with murder in his heart, cannot possibly recognize Paradise even when he is shown it. – Henry Miller

The goal of life is not to possess power but to radiate it. – Henry Miller

Through endless night the earth whirls toward a creation unknown. – Henry Miller

I too love everything that flows: rivers, sewers, lava, semen, blood, bile, words, sentences. I love the amniotic fluid when it spills out of the bag. I love the kidney with it’s painful gall-stones, it’s gravel and what-not; I love the urine that pours out scalding and the clap that runs endlessly; I love the words of hysterics and the sentences that flow on like dysentery and mirror all the sick images of the soul. – Henry Miller

When I think of New York I have a very different feeling. New York makes even a rich man feel his unimportance. New York is cold, glittering, malign. The buildings dominate. There is a sort of atomic frenzy to the activity going on; the more furious the pace, the more diminished the spirit. A constant ferment, but it might just as well be going on in a test tube. Nobody knows what it’s all about. Nobody directs the energy. Stupendous. Bizarre, Baffling. A tremendous reactive urge, but absolutely uncoordinated. – Henry Miller

The real leader has no need to lead – he is content to point the way. – Henry Miller

Every man has his own destiny: the only imperative is to follow it, to accept it, no matter where it leads him. – Henry Miller

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